Eat Out at Your Own Risk
- By Aimee Eiguren
- Published 07/17/2009
I am a 38 year old woman and native San Franciscan, now living in northern Nevada...I'm also a Blogger. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease on April 15, 2000 - the Millennium year proved to be quite significant for my life, minus any YK2 computer crashes. My diagnosis arrived sincerely just in the nick of time, because at the ripe old age of 30 I was on my out of this life, due to almost a decade of severe sickness, complications and misdiagnoses. There are still many a day when a flash of my pre-diagnosis past enters my mind and I remember glimpses of my life during those years of confusion, sickness, despair, and ultimate frustration. I don't recall ever feeling fearful of what was happening to me though, because the funny thing about the human spirit is - we fight to live; it's innate to our souls...and of our being. However, I can honestly say that my parents and brother would not concur with my last sentence because they were laden with the fear and uncertainty of my future more than I - my job was to fight through, research, keep living, keep filling up my soul with whatever joys and enjoyment I could still physically and emotionally take in...and I did just that.
I would be honored for any of you out there to take a look at my blog and see what you think, or better yet, please subscribe to receive my blog postings...it's easy to do from the home page at www.glutenfreebowlofsoul.blogspot.com.
As much as I love home-cooking, I certainly also enjoy a nice meal out and the social life that usually accompanies dining outside the home. Since being diagnosed as a celiac disease nine years ago, I've learned to navigate through many restaurants safely and with confidence, yet on the other hand, there have also been many times when the message of cooking gluten-free was not properly transmitted from server to chef, and I've paid the serious price for their lack of awareness via a very sick body.
This past incident, however, has made me really angry and that's not like me - but when a restaurant so blatantly goes to great lengths to advertise and serve homemade gluten-free pastas on their menu, in my opinion, they are announcing that they have not only the understanding but the full awareness of exactly what gluten-free food preparation entails - this was so sadly not my experience on that lovely June evening. In fact, I went to great lengths to speak with the restaurant staff, and server five times from when the reservation was made on line, to a phone call, and throughout my meal. What more can a paying Celiac customer do to ensure their safety?
As it turns out, the special gluten-free pasta that I ordered ahead of time was then prepared with a basil cream sauce that was mixed with wheat flour, and then poured all over my delicious pasta and served to me. I instinctively asked the server as the beautiful plate of too-good-to-be-true pasta was placed in front of me, "okay so this meal is 100% gluten-free, correct?"...."Yes, enjoy!"....I was told.
It's this kind of negligence, and lack of understanding about how Celiacs and gluten-intolerant folks truly have to eat to ensure safety, that really incenses me.
I'm sure there are many of you out there who have experienced similar situations, and hopefully survived to tell about it. Our voices need to be heard and in my opinion when gluten contamination of food in a restaurant happens, it's not simply a stomach ache that ensues...there are serious symptoms involved that restaurants all across this nation need to be educated about. It's really a matter of life and death.
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